Whether it is loud machinery at work, a busy freeway, a nearby airport or loud music, many people are exposed to high levels of noise, say researchers, adding that exposure to loud noise is not only annoying but also bad for your health. Large studies have linked noise exposure to various health problems in people. Now, two new mouse studies provide new insight into how this type of noise exposure can lead to high blood pressure and cancer-related DNA damage.

"Our new data provide additional mechanistic insights into these adverse health effects, especially high blood pressure and potentially cancer development, both leading causes of global death," said study researcher Matthias Oelze from the University Medical Centre of Mainz in Germany.

Mouse exposed to noise

Hearing
Representational Image

Published in The FASEB Journal, the research found that healthy mice exposed to four days of aircraft noise were more likely to develop high blood pressure. For mice with pre-established high blood pressure, this noise exposure aggravated heart damage because of a synergistic increase of oxidative stress and inflammation in the cardiovascular and neuronal systems.

In another study, the researchers observed that the same noise exposure induced oxidative DNA damage in mice. This damage led to a highly mutagenic DNA lesion that was previously associated with the development of cancer in other settings. They are currently conducting several studies on the health effects of noise, including interactions of pre-established cardiovascular diseases with noise as well as behavioural effects of noise exposure in mice.

"These new findings, together with our other work on noise-associated cardiovascular effects, could lead to a better understanding of how noise influences health," said Oelze. "This information could help inform policies and regulations that better protect people against diseases related to noise exposure," Oelze noted.